Written by Team Juggernaut
Read Matt’s Training Log Here
Name: Matt Vincent
- Age: 29
- Height/Weight : 6’/280
- Hometown: Sulphur LA
- Current City: Baton Rouge LA
- Years Training: 15
3 full years Highland Games
Highland events-Braemar 22#: 45’
- Open Stone 16#: 60’5”
- 56# weight for distance: 48’2”
- 28# weight for distance: 94’2” (North American Record)
- 22# hammer: 116’
- 16# Hammer: 137’
- 20# sheaf: 33’
- 56# Weight for height: 17’6”
- Squat: 685
- Bench: 425
- Push Press: 396
- Dead Lift: 665
- Raw meet: 675/425/665
- Geared in APF: 875/700/705
Where you Train: Garage Gym @ my House
Day Job: Outside sales for Refractory Service Company (Petro Chemical Industry)
What would be your personal theme song?: Space Oddity – David Bowie Or any Bowie for that matter. Talking heads is also pretty solid lately. I listen to a variety of stuff but I’ll use those as my theme song.
What got you into training/competing? What is your athletic background?
I got into lifting for football in High school. This continued till I was able to go to college (LSU) with a track scholarship (shot put, discus, hammer). After that I dabbled in strongman for a couple years, about the same in powerlifting, and now focused on Highland Games.
Who have been influential people in your life in regards to training, or just in general?
There have been tons. I had a coach in High School that really pushed me in the throws. In my adult lifting career it has been a ton of people I have traveled a lot to meet the guys I read about and looked up to. But to name most influential would be my brother Andy Vincent. We are best friends and both got into strongman and heavy training again as adults about the same time. We now are lucky enough to travel and compete as professionals in the Highland Games.
What are the greatest challenges you have faced from a training/competing standpoint?
It is learning how to train smart. Figuring out that leaving a little bit everyday to not risk injury and continue making gains in the long run is a great lesson I learned. The other is stuff I am still figuring out is diet and nutrition. The challenge standpoint with highland games is being away from home for 20 comps a year. Also trying to make sure you are healthy for that long of a season is challenging.
How do you structure you training going into a competition?
It really depends on the time of the year. There are comps that are going to be prep comps for ones coming up later in the year. We have championship games from the end of Aug to the End of September. So I try to taper everything to make sure I am throwing my best when it counts.
What is your typical diet like?
This is probably my weakest spot. I am on the road a lot for work as well as comps so I don’t always get to prepare my own food. I eat a ton of subway. I am sure I could do just meat and nuts on the road and be leaner. However like most big guys, I also enjoy food a ton. One of the biggest things I try to keep in mind is not eat like an idiot. I try to think does this make me a fatty and if yes I try to avoid it. So I try and stay good most meals.
What upcoming competitions do you have? What are your competitive goals for the next year?
I have three comps left this year. Two are fun games and the last one at the end of Sept is the national Championships in Bethlehem PA. The Celtic Classic is a tough games that brings in the top 10 Us Pros. It will be as challenging a game if not more than the World Championships.
Next season I am hoping to win the inaugural Arnold Classic Highland Games. After that I want to win World Championships again, Pleasanton, North American Championships as well as the Celtic Classic. Those are the big games.
Personally I am hoping to improve in all my events both PR and avg distance, but who isn’t.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in competing in Highland Games?
Don’t stress about getting ready for it, just go out and do it. Once you have given it a shot start to find some people to train with and go from there.
Describe each of the Highland Games events…
The events competed in can vary depending on which Games you are competing in. Each competition may have some or all of the following events. The thrower must compete in all events in a particular competition. Here is a short description of each: NOTE: For the weight throws, stone puts, and hammer a “trig”, which is similar to the toe-board used in the shot put, is used at the front of the throwing box that the thrower cannot step beyond the front of.
· Open Stone Put
Similar to the shot put, except a stone is used that weighs usually between 16 and 22 pounds. It is called “open” style because any style of putting is allowed with the spin and glide styles being the most popular. The throwing area is a box 4’6″ wide and 7’6″ long. The thrower must keep one foot inside this area and not step over the back line or inside face of the trig or the throw is a foul.
· Braemar Stone Put
This stone put uses a heavier stone usually between 22 and 28 pounds and it must be put from a standing position. The same throwing area and fouls for the open stone apply.
· 56lb. Weight for Distance
The weight can be either block or spherical shaped with links and a handle. The overall length cannot exceed 18″. The weight is thrown with one hand in a throwing area 4’6″ x 9′. The thrower must keep one foot inside this area and not step over the back line or inside face of the trig or the throw is a foul.
· 28lb. Weight for Distance
Same as the 56lb. Weight for Distance except a 28lb. weight is used.
· 22lb. Hammer Throw
The hammer has a lead or steel head with a bamboo or rattan handle affixed through a hole in the head. The overall length cannot exceed 50″. The athlete stands behind the trig with his back to the throwing area, winds the hammer around the head and releases over the shoulder. The athlete’s feet must remain in a fixed position until the hammer is released. Boots with blades attached to the front of them are usually worn to keep the feet on the ground and in a fixed position.
· 16lb. Hammer Throw
Same as the 22lb. Hammer Throw except a 16lb. hammer is used.
· Caber Toss
The Caber is a tree that has been cut and trimmed down so one end is slightly wider than the other. It can vary length from 16 to 22 feet and between 100 and 180 pounds. The smaller end is rounded off so it will be easy to cup in the thrower’s hands. The caber is stood up for the thrower with the large end up. The thrower hoists the caber up and cups the small end in his hands. He then takes a short run with the caber and then stops and pulls the caber so that the large end hits the ground and the small end flips over and faces away from the thrower. The caber is scored for accuracy as though the thrower is facing the 12:00 position on a clock face. A judge behind the thrower calls how close to the 12:00 position the small end of the caber lands, 12:00 being a perfect toss. If the caber is not turned, a side judge calls the degrees of the angle the caber makes with the ground. Sometimes a Challenge Caber is also used which is larger than the Games Caber.
· Sheaf Toss
The sheaf is a 16lb. or 20lb. burlap or plastic bag stuffed with either chopped rope, straw, or mulch. The sheaf is tossed over a cross bar with a pitch fork. Three attempts are allowed at each height. If the thrower misses all three tries at one height, the he is out of the competition.
· 56lb. Weight for Height
The weight for height is the same as used for distance except it is shorter. The weight is tossed over a cross bar with one hand. Three attempts are allowed at each height. If the thrower misses all three tries at one height, the he is out of the competition.
How do you balance traveling for work, competing so often and training?
Luckily for me I have traveled enough and have not been afraid to ask my way into someone’s facility and lifting. It is challenging for sure but I guess I have been doing it for the last 5 years and I am just really used to it. I have also figured out how to get done what needs to be done in any gym. While on the road I still have quite a bit of free time.
I also have an amazing wife who allows me to compete and travel like I do. She knows that she married a lunatic and is very great for it. So with the games I more or less use it as a way for her and I to travel somewhere cool a couple times year together on someone else’s dollar.
Any general thank you’s or products to look out for or anything else you want to say…
To all of the places that have let me get in and train while I live out on the road and welcome me in. My sponsors Conquest Nutrition, USPLabs, Sport Kilt, Clevenger Sheaves.
If you have a personal website/fan page/etc, list that here…